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Government reveals more reforms for listing system

The government has revealed plans to radically transform the criteria used to decide whether or not a building should be listed.

Culture minister David Lammy and ODPM minister Baroness Andrews yesterday unveiled the proposals, which they argue will clarify the method used by English Heritage to decide.

Both politicians insisted that the reformed process would neither increase nor decrease the number of buildings that find themselves on to the list.

They both also claimed that the reforms - which are now open for public consultation - would not change the level of protection afforded to historic buildings.

The ministers went on to explain that this process is part of the government's wider reform of the heritage protection systems, which started with the transfer of the administration of the listing system from the DCMS, to English Heritage in April this year.

During the next year, the Heritage Protection Review will also see the introduction of consultation with property owners and local authorities when an application for listing a building has been made.

Lammy said the new reforms were part of an attempt to ensure that the perception of secrecy surrounding the listing system was removed.

'Heritage protection and planning are undergoing a cultural change to bring about greater openness, fairness, flexibility and accountability,' he said.

'The launch of this consultation paper on revised listing criteria is an important step forward, and it is important to get them right.

'We welcome views and opinions on the criteria from organisations and individuals alike,' he added.

by Ed Dorrell

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